BY LINDA SUTTER
I call it pounding the pavement. It is hard work and if anyone says different I respectfully disagree. The hardest part about this pay-less job is the fact that each and every person who answers the door has to first be informed, “I’m not selling anything”. The next thing I inform them is about the water rate increase and how this increase will continue for the next 4 years. After I get finished talking and answering their questions, nine times out of ten I get a signature. So that means there is about 10% of the population whom I have talked to who feels that they can afford the rate increases.
Besides the 10% who want the increased rates there is an amazingly large inventory of foreclosures and empty or abandoned homes. These homes automatically counts as a yes vote. This amazes me because if they lost their home to foreclosure to begin with I would think they would have voted no because they were suffering from economic malnutrition.
60% vs 150%
There is nothing glamorous about this work as I am getting a first hand picture of reality on how poor our community is. I am especially sick over our elderly who are in there 80’s and 90’s, who live alone, who are on fixed incomes and who now because of this threat of increase have to unnecessarily worry where the money is going to come from. And these people are only thinking about the 60% and completely unaware that the total increase is closer to 150%. The city has done a fine job of deceiving the population about the full impact of this rate increase.
ONLY 1 NEGATIVE COMMENT
I have only had one negative community member who was absolutely angry when I asked him to give a gift of a signature for others who cannot afford the increase in water rates. He was screaming at me at which time I said, “God Bless you sir,” turned around and walked off. I have had the opportunity of discovering the crack houses and the houses growing marijuana. The individuals who answer the door to those houses of course say, “No,” because they don’t want their names on anything. I can’t get away from those houses fast enough.
So what is it like to collect signatures?
It is rewarding to think that maybe my time can help the majority to keep what little money they have in their pocket and away from a city council who squanders the tax payers coffers to the point of bankruptcy.